halesworth

A history of Halesworth, Suffolk, UK, through the ages.

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Volume 2



church

Features in Halesworth Parish Church 

Most English churches seem rather plain and short of rich sculptures or decoration in comparison with churches in some continental countries, where the Roman Catholic faith has been largely un-interrupted for centuries.

Here, when Henry VIII declared himself 'Supreme Head of the Church of England' in the 16th century, orders from Parliament resulted in many of the statues, crosses, stained glass windows and wall paintings being removed or covered up. This carried on for over one hundred years, and at the time of the Civil War in the 17th  century (1642 - 49) a Parliamentary Commissioner named William Dowsing travelled around Suffolk ordering the destruction of many of these items. He arrived in Halesworth on April 5th 1643 where, according to his diary, he ordered the removal of :-

'2 crucifixes, 3 of the Holy Ghost images and a 3rd of the Trinity altogether, and two hundred other superstitious pictures and more (usually stained glass window panels), 5 popish inscription on brass, 'orate pro animabus' and 'eujus animae propietur Deus' and the steps (of the altar) to be levelled by the Parson of the town, and to take off the Cross on the Chancel'. And then the Churchwardens had orders to take down '2 crosses off the steeple'.

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